Women protest land grab in Cambodia.
While you were sleeping, there has been a spurt in land grabbing.
"Of the 848 deals concluded since 2008, 80 involve Indian companies that have invested in 65 deals to grow foodgrains, sugarcane, oilseeds, tea and flowers," report Hindustan Times (India buys land 9 times Delhi size abroad. http://bit.ly/1b3fsPp).
While Indian Companies are buying land abroad, foreign companies are buying land in India. As per this news report, in 39 deals Indian Companies have bought abroad an area equal to 9 times the size of Delhi. And foreign Companies from UK, US, Austria and Thailand have concluded 36 deals to buy farm land in India in the States of Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Seven of these deals have already been completed allowing 13,105 hectares to be acquired. This is based on an excellent detailed insight provided on the web site Land Matrix. You can Google and find out more details. Total deals it has details about till date are 23729439, and the total area acquired for agricultural purposes is 23,729,439 hectares. Mind boggling, isn't it?
As I said somewhere, every second an area equivalent to that of a football ground (0.72 hectares) is being acquired in the majority world. Among those who are investing in such land deals are not only MNCs, big business, hedge funds, venture capitalists, but even universities.
At this rate the day is not far off when most people will become landless in their own country. Call it neo-colonisation or economic growth (as some may perceive this development to be), the fact remains that land grab has become a major investment over the past few years. As we continue to sleep over, and perhaps think it will not mean uprooting us at least, the land sharks are scanning each and every nook of the world to lay hands upon whatever piece of land they can. To me this is simply frightening. It has grave human rights implications, and would impact global food security to say the least. In other words, it has all the makings of a tremendous people's revolt in the years to come.
Imagine, wherever you are living you being surrounded by fenced land purchased by foreign companies. Imagine the flag of the country from which the company hails from is fluttering in your neighbourhood. maybe more than one flag. Gradually most of us will find ourselves living in no man's land surrounded by international borders on all sides. As said earlier, the land sharks are now eyeing India. The country seems to be up for grabs. No wonder, soon after passing the new land aquisition law that makes it easier for companies to acquire land, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had said: 'We will not need land acquisition law after 20 years'. So true. Isn't it? After all, there would be no land left to be acquired by then !
I wonder what national anthem would we sing then?